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The Sharks Paperback – January 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Norvik Press Series B: English Translations of Scandinavian Literature (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Norvik Presse; 1st edition (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1870041208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1870041201
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,069,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Norwegian

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
A sea adventure worthy of comparison to Conrad and Melville, The Sharks tells the tale of "the last, meaningless, incomprehensible voyage" of the bark Neptune. The novel is set in the year 1899; the issues of diversity, violence, oppression, love, and interdependence presented are familiar concerns for contemporary readers at the end of this century. The narraator is Neptune's second mate Peder Jensen, a sailor who is afraid of the sea and yet can not leave it: "This is my fate and my curse: to love what I hate." The polarity, and ultimate union, of opposites is a theme which runs throughout this allegorical book. A white European, Jensen is in a privileged position as officer aboard a British ship. He gains our sympathy by being aware of his privilege and resisting the role of oppressor. He feels a revulsion toward his sometimes cruel and greedy fellow-officers and is supportive of the crew, "that strange assemblage of folk from every corner and edge of the globe, of every colour and race, denizens of the whole world's docks and ports." As the crew moves toward mutiny, Jensen is caught in the middle of the power struggle betweeen groups. Throughout the book, Bjorneboe acknowledges the inextricable connections between people and the mixture of good and bad in all of us. Jensen learns that he can not truly be as independent as he imagines himself, free of all ties: "One's every act toward another -- help included -- brings obligations and creates fate. One is caught in the net." Love and hate are two sides of the same coin; Jensen reflects that "of course destruction dwells in us all. In each there lives a murderer. But there also dwells a saviour and rescuer in us.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
The first time I read this book was for my own pleasure, and I thought the story was an exciting adventure. The second time I read it was in school when we analyzed it. Then I suddenly saw the allegories this book is packed with. Now this book is one of my favorites and I have read it several times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Kern on February 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE SHARKS concludes Bjorneboe's great series of novels, an achievement that someday perhaps will be ranked with the work of Kafka, Camus and Bellow, to mention but three distinctive novelists of the twentieth century who come to mind. Following the trilogy known as THE HISTORY OF BESTIALITY, all three novels of which are narrated by a man weighed down with the misery of the world, obsessed with human cruelty and injustice, and psychologically deformed by rage, hatred and alcoholism, the narrator-protagonist of THE SHARKS will come as a surprise. He is clear-headed, steady-handed and to a certain extent at peace with the world. One senses that the author cleaned himself up, went on the wagon and took on a project intended to prove that he could write a conventional novel accessible to any literate and sensitive soul. The result is a sea-story that deserves in every respect to stand alongside Melville and Conrad, and were it not for their precedence would be the best one of all.

Which is not to say that the hero, Peder Jensen, second mate and ship's doctor by default, is a well-adjusted socialite. Rather, he has "Neptune of the blood" and is driven away from society out to sea, though he dreads its roar and consuming depths. Yet when he stands at the helm of the ship he adores and calls Sancta Venere, steering it through the night, he reflects on humankind with a measure of hope. He sees it poised like himself on a point between the infinite universe of stars above and the immeasurable depths of the ocean below, yet imbued with a life-spirit, a world-soul, that pervades and encompasses everything.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jarkko Yfantidis on October 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I could never write a review about a jens bjernebö book.... He left to the world his masterpieces to read and comprehend and love. A hypersensitive book about brutality. A hymn to human heart.
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